Bray Wanderers will look to revitalise their start to the campaign on Friday night after last week’s 4-2 away thumping against Cabinteely at Stradbrook.
Wexford are the visitors for the first game at the Carlisle Grounds this season as they make the short journey up the N11 (kick-off 7.45pm).
The County Wicklow side got off to the worst possible start at Cabo when Gary Cronin’s side found themselves 4-0 down at the break in the pelting rain.
Among the few positives from the game were debuts for new signings Brian Maher, on loan from St Patrick’s Athletic, John Ross Wilson, Aaron Barry and Ryan Graydon, while ex-Cabo man Jack Watson was introduced from the bench late on.
Cabinteely definitely used the advantage of playing with the wind in the first half and scored the opener after 17 minutes.
Ex-Seagull Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters slotted past Maher in goal after the ball broke to him just inside the area leaving him open with acres of space to play around in.
Vilius Labutis also scored while youngster Keith Dalton bagged two as they broke Bray fans hearts on the opening night of the First Division.
Gary Cronin and his backroom staff will be confident of picking up their first win on Friday night, however, as they’ve beaten Wexford five times in the last eight games.
Defender Darragh Gibbons misses out again through illness. Defender Leigh Kavanagh and midfielder Andrew Moran come into the squad.
Wexford come into the game on the back of a positive opening result after drawing with last year’s Premier Division side UCD last Friday.
An injury time equalizer from Conor English was enough to secure a point for Brian O’Sullivan’s side.
The south-east side managed to hold the Students to just a single shot on target throughout the game.
They had been busy during the transfer window likewise with Bray but new boy Paul Cleary was called upon as he made the starting lineup vs UCD and O’Sullivan was impressed by him.
“We think he’s done really well. He’s fitted in really well with the lads, he has a great attitude and he’s buying in to what we’re trying to do here,” said O’Sullivan.
“He’s a great lad first and foremost and on the pitch, he is a good defender. I think he’ll do well for us, and I think St Patrick’s Athletic really rate him aswell.”
Conor Crowley and Cian Kavanagh were both involved in the build-up to English’s goal, with Crowley winning the ball back initially and Kavanagh getting the assist.
O’Sullivan added: “We were set up right defensively, and the midfield offered something in attack.
“Cian played a great ball to English and it was a worldie finish. He deserved it on the night, he was excellent.”
On Bray, O’Sullivan said: “They will be like a wounded animal going into the game. When they lost to Cabinteely I believe conditions were difficult up there.
“They went into half time 4-0 down but I believe weather played a massive factor. They got a reaction at half-time. For their standards, they’re obviously not happy.
“Sometimes that’s not an easy thing to face. We’ll have to defend, and we’re capable of doing that, and we’re also capable of catching them on the counter with pace and the quality we have going forward.”
Midfielder Conor Crowley echoed his manager’s sentiments: “Obviously we’re going there to win the game.
“We know they’re going to have the ball at times, and we’re going to have to be disciplined defensively.
“We’ll have to hold our shape and see whether Bray can break us down. We’re also going to try to get the ball ourselves and create as many chances as we did last Friday.
“It’s going to be a good test, it’s one that we relish and one that we’re looking forward to.”
Referee: Alan Carey.
Of the last eight games between the clubs, Bray have won five while Wexford have just won three.
Bray Wanderers 1/3; Draw 4/1; Wexford 15/2.
Bray Wanderers 1-2 Wexford.
Injured: Darragh Gibbons.
Injured: Liam Berry, Malike Hill-Benrouguibi
Doubtful: Conor English (ankle).